|Aktivitets nivå :||Fotturer - Kultur & Tema reiser (standard) - Self guided/independent - Sykkelturer|
Make your own way from Bari or Brindisi airport to Matera by train (see joining info below).
On leaving Matera you will pass through what makes this town so special. For millenia, inhabitants of this region have carved dwelling directly into ravines and gullies made of tuff (or tufa), a characteristic honey-colored soft stone. These houses are called 'Sassi' and are as today a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Matera is the only place in the world where people can boast to be still living in the same houses of their ancestors of 9,000 years ago. From one famous world heritage site to another, heading towards Alberobello, you will pass the famous fairy-tale trulli houses that have also made Alberobello a recognised world heritage site.
Cycle through the lush Valle d'Itria and one of the prettiest cultural landscapes of the south past more trulli houses to Ostuni - offering breathtaking coastal views. Along the way we pass the famous wine town of Locorotondo, regarded as one of Italy's most beautiful villages. After sampling some of the local sparkling white wine, the route heads to the white city of Ostuni - famous for the dazzling effect of its whitewashed houses.
In the morning you will take a train transfer with your bike to the the fascinating baroque town of Lecce. From here we cycle deep into the Salentinian countryside before approaching the Ionian coast. Here you will reach beautiful Gallipolli, known as the 'Ionian Pearl' with its old town situated on a rocky island and offering fantastic views both from the north and the south. The town itself has many churches, narrow alleys and was the largest exporter of lamp oil made from olives in the 17th and 18th centuries.
Today you cycle to the most southerly point of Salento at Santa Maria di Leuca, where the crystal waters of the Ionian and Adriatic seas merge. This village is home to one of the most important lighthouses in Italy and the architectural delights of numerous villas built at the turn of the century. Inhabitants of this area were quite eccentric people who loved the peace and quiet and wanted to enjoy the sea and the town.
Our route continues along the south coast of the Adriatic sea through charming landscape to the ancient Messapian town of Otranto. The old town is surrounded by a mighty wall containing the impressive Hapsburger Castle. En route to Otranto there is the opportunity to visit the famous Grotta Zinzulusa, the only coastal grotto that is open to the public, and also the thermal baths of Santa Cesarea Terme.
We follow the shoreline through innumerable olive groves to the Baroque metropolis of Lecce. A relaxing way to end the week is at the beach of Torre dell'Orso surrounded by limestone cliffs and with many ancient caves to discover. The final destination is Lecce, the capital of Salento, and as well as being home to over 30 churches and countless palaces, there is an ampitheatre and Roman theatre dating back to Emperor Augustus.
Finish your trip in Lecce and make your own way back to the airport for your flight home.
* 7 nights comfortable hotels * 6 days cycling with luggage transfers * 99% asphalt, 1% unpaved roads * Gentle undulations throughout * Self-guided holiday. Min age 14 yrs
7 breakfasts are included and consist of a continental-style buffet. However, please note that the typical Italian breakfast are generally light; usually a cup of coffee and a cream-filled or jam-filled croissant. In Puglia you will find genuine regional cooking that has strong links to the land and the sea. To give you just a small list of the types of food on offer in Puglia: Bread from the Murge, durum wheat pasta, olives, the pasta delicacy Orecchiette served with a sauce of turnip-tops or fresh tomato and sheep's ricotta-cheese, Cavatelli with pulses, aubergine and parmesan bake, grilled fish and seafood, burrata (soft mozzarella and cream cheese), plus excellent wines. This region is a food lovers paradise and the abundance of delicious vegetables makes it a perfect destination for vegetarians! On this trip there will be many opportunities to taste the best local specialities. Suggestions of what to do for lunch and dinner are given in the cycling route notes.
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